Box Office: Will David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Be Upstaged By a Demonic Doll?

Fincher's latest outing, based on Gillian Flynn's wildly popular novel, stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike

Will a demonic doll named Annabelle snatch the box-office crown away from David Fincher's film adaptation Gone Girl, the high-profile thriller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike?

According to prerelease surveys, New Line's horror spinoff Annabelle is tracking to open to $25 million or better this coming weekend, compared to $20 million to $22 million for Gone Girl (both films are rated R).

New Line and parent Warner Bros. are being far more cautious, considering how unreliable tracking has been in recent months, saying they expect a mid- to high teens opening for Annabelle. Final tracking comes out Thursday morning, and should reflect eleventh hour advertising blitzes.

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Adult dramas like Gone Girl generally don't open big but can have impressive legs. That holds true for virtually all of Fincher's films. The Social Network opened to $22.5 million domestically on its way to earning $95 million. And two years before that, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, benefiting from stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, debuted to $26.9 million on its way to earning $127.5 million domestically.

Affleck's Oscar-winning Argo, another adult property, debuted to $19.5 million in October 2012 before topping out at $136 million. The film, directed by and starring Affleck, it didn't come in No. 1 until its third weekend.

Gone Girl, a dark adult drama about a tormented marriage, has plenty of pedigree between Fincher, Affleck and Gillian Flynn's novel upon which the film is based, which has sold more than 6 million copies in hardcover. Flynn also wrote the adapted script for the movie, which opened the New York Film Festival Sept. 26, sparking immediate debate as to whether it will be an awards contender. According to tracking, older women are most interested in seeing Gone Girl.

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"This very well-received film is going to have a very long shelf life," said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson.

Comps for Gone Girl include last year's dark drama Prisoners, which debuted to $20.8 million in late September, and Affleck's The Town, which opened to $23.8 million in September 2010.

Annabelle, from New Line and Warner Bros., is a prequel to box-office hit The Conjuring, which debuted to a sizeable $41.9 million in July 2013 (a side character was a haunted doll named Annabelle).

Returning John R. Leonetti in the director's chair, Annabelle stars Alfre Woodard, Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton. The film boasts strong interest among younger moviegoers, who tend to turn out en masse on opening weekend.

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